[MEXICAN WAR] SCOTT, Winfield
Headquarters of the Army, National Palace of Mexico, Sept. 17, 1847. General Orders - No. 287
Mexico City: September 17, 1847. pp., printed on a single folded sheet. Old vertical crease. Three tears along the central fold, resulting in loss of paper but no text.
Important order establishing martial law in Mexico City.
A rare copy of an important order issued by General Winfield Scott just days after his victory at the Battle of Chapultepec and his taking of Mexico City. Chapultepec was the final victory in Scott's march to the Mexican capital, following victories at Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, and Molino del Rey. Largely outnumbered against Santa Anna's forces, Scott produced a series of stunning victories leading to the capture of Mexico City and the issuance of this broadside, which seeks to establish order by proclaiming martial law. A preamble to the General Orders announces that this is a restatement, "with important additions" of Scott's order of February 19, 1847, issued from Tampico, which also declared martial law. In the present order, meant to maintain order in the newly-conquered city, Scott lays out the prohibitions for a wide variety of acts, including assassination, murder, poisoning, rape, assault, robbery, theft, the desecration of churches and cemeteries, and more. Significantly, he announces that such rules will apply equally to Americans as to Mexicans. He points out that these laws are important not only to guide his army, but "for the protection of the unoffending inhabitants and their property, about the theatres of military operations, against injuries on the part of the army, contrary to the laws of war." Scott further extends martial law to any part of Mexico under the control of U.S.forces. Lastly, Scott announces that the American army will safeguard all of the churches, monasteries, convents, inhabitants, and property in Mexico City, and announces a "contribution" of $150,000 to be imposed on the capital to pay for these services, payable in four equal installments. The order is signed in manuscript at the end by Winfield Scott's Assistant Adjutant General, H.L. Scott. Garrett locates a copy at the University of Texas at Arlington, and OCLC adds copies at the California State Library (Sutro copy) and the University of North Carolina.
Garrett, p.390; OCLC 52501908.